What is Anxiety?
Do you have frequent worry that interferes with your daily life? Do you feel restless, wound-up, or on edge frequently? Do you have difficulty with sleep or fatigue? Do you struggle with any irrational fears or feelings of panic? You may have an anxiety disorder.
It can be a very normal part of the human experience to feel stress, worry, and anxiety when faced with certain obstacles in life. Whether you need help with getting through those obstacles or whether you feel your anxiety has taken over the driver seat in your life, we are here to help.
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder? (GAD)
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a number of different things. People with GAD may anticipate disaster and may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals with GAD find it difficult to control their worry. They may worry more than seems warranted about actual events or may expect the worst even when there is no apparent reason for concern.
GAD is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms. This differentiates GAD from worry that may be specific to a set stressor or for a more limited period of time.
Although the exact cause of GAD is unknown, there is evidence that biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones, play a role.
Sometimes just the thought of getting through the day produces anxiety. People with GAD don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it is beyond their control, even though they usually realize that their anxiety is more intense than the situation warrants. All anxiety disorders may relate to a difficulty tolerating uncertainty and therefore many people with GAD try to plan or control situations. Many people believe worry prevents bad things from happening so they view it is risky to give up worry. At times, people can struggle with physical symptoms such as stomachaches and headaches.”
There are several types of anxiety disorders. Some types of anxiety disorders that are GAD or Panic disorder are (According to the DSM5):
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Specific Phobias
- Separation Anxiety
- Selective Mutism
- Medication-induced anxiety disorder
- Other or Unspecified anxiety disorder
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, some these symptoms may include (This is not an exhaustive list):
“Over 40 million adults in the U.S. (1%) have an anxiety disorder. Meanwhile, approximately 7%of children aged 3-17 experience issues with anxiety each year. Most people develop symptoms before age 21.”
“Past year prevalence of any anxiety disorder was higher for females (23.4%) than for males (14.3%).”
“An estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experience any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.”
While anxiety disorders are very treatable, only about one-third of those suffering symptoms seek therapy treatment.
NIMH- Any Anxiety Disorder. (2020). National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder
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